Sunday, October 30, 2011

And so to Namibia

Namibian roads

Crossing into Namibia was a pleasant experience, after so many border crossings. The officials were, with one exception, friendly, and seemed to enjoy their jobs. The lady responsible for the road tax made jokes, and asked about our trip.

Frogs, not catching mosquitos
And after a small orgy of shopping at the border shopping area we took the lovely smooth road towards Tsumeb. We had to concentrate to drive on the left side again, and we had to keep watching the speed, because now my radiator was acting up again. Another stop, some more epoxy and 3 liters of water and we were off again, to arrive at Tsumeb and a beautiful, clean and spacious camp site at sunset.

Scientists around the world: relax! The rumours about a reduction of the numbers of frogs, and specifically the African Bullfrog, are unfounded. In the pond of the Kupferquelle campsite there are many, roaring away at up to 80 decibels, all night. And they were not eating mosquitos! Oh no, they had much more important things in mind!

We also saw, along the road, signs of the great fire that had devastated Etosha recently. Hundreds of square kilometers were burnt to cinders, and the people told of herds of elephants, rhino, lions, and what not else, burnt to death or maimed beyond survival.

Our last camp together, and the ladies had to get their
 hair looked into.
It was good meeting up again with people who laugh at the same jokes as us, and have a similar view of workmanship. Hannes, a little bored on a Sunday, helped repair the brake backplate on the Landy, and soldered my radiator with great care. And he would not take money for it! We ordered him to take his lady wife to dinner. If anyone needs the services of a good boilermaker, Hannes is your man!

Hannes attending to the radiator
And we relaxed, reminisced about our voyage, and had a last dinner together at the Dros. Then each went his own way. We headed for Windhoek, in a loose formation with Stephanus and Mariana, but they decided to press on for Marienthal and points south, while we wanted to eat at Joe's, an event that had escaped us last time. And I was looking for Shell oil, the Cruiser was last serviced in Ghana, and an oil and filter change is sorely needed. But initial results would make me recommend that you sell any shares you may have in the company: no Shell along the road had Helix oil, and none would change oil in any case.

In fact, I was informed that garages do not change oil any more. So who does, then?

Joe's Beer house.
It turned out that Danie of Safari Vehicle Repairs (Danie: 081 128 8594) could. Again, our sort of work ethic: friendly, professional, thorough. After a night’s rest at the Chameleon Backpackers, and two hours at the workshop we were ready for the road.

Life is tough in the Kalahari!
And so on the way south. At Marienthal we turned into the Auob valley, and at the Auob Country Lodge, just outside Gotchas we called a halt.

A good night’s rest, and we were ready for the Trans-frontier park. It was a little nerve-wracking, checking out of Namibia, and only checking into South Africa the next day, but we were the only people who were worried.

And, even if not properly checked in, we were in South Africa!

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